ARG vs FRA Final: Will Messi become 'THE GOAT' ahead of Pele, Maradona if he clinches WC glory?
It will be a date with the destiny for Argentina’s modern-time great Lionel Messi as he takes the center stage on Sunday (December 18) evening in the final of the FIFA World Cup 2022 against France. Touted by many as the Greatest of All Time (GOAT), Messi could cement his legacy with a win in Sunday’s final. But will he be the Greatest of All Time ahead of Diego Maradona and Pele?
Over the years great names like Pele, Maradona and Franz Beckenbauer have forged their reputation as the GOAT’s having won the World Cup in their playing career. The list also includes some of the modern-day greats like Zinedine Zidane, Sergio Ramos, Kylian Mbappe so it all but becomes inevitable for Messi to win the World Cup to stay in the ranks. The World Cup trophy remains the only one that goes missing in his trophy cabinet and the missing piece in the puzzle could be the last thing he needs to cast his legacy.
While the debate is still on whether Pele or Maradona are the GOAT, Lionel Messi could enter the race as well, having achieved more success than the two at the club level. During his time at Barcelona, the Argentine captain achieved all the success including the Champions League, La Liga, Copa Del Rey, Spanish Super Cup, UEFA Super Cup and the Club World Cup on multiple occasions. In 2021 the Argentine No.10 guided his nation to their first Copa America triumph in 28 years and added another feather to his cap.
On individual terms, Messi has won the prestigious Ballon d’Or on seven occasions while also winning the Golden Boot in La Liga, Golden Ball Award in the 2014 World Cup for the best player along with multiple individual honours. His record tally of 91 goals in the calendar year 2012 remains at arm’s length for any other player.
La Liga: 2004–05, 2005–06, 2008–09, 2009–10, 2010–11, 2012–13, 2014–15, 2015–16, 2017–18, 2018–19
Copa del Rey: 2008–09, 2011–12, 2014–15, 2015–16, 2016–17, 2017–18, 2020–21
Supercopa de España: 2006, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2016, 2018
UEFA Champions League: 2005–06, 2008–09, 2010–11, 2014–15
UEFA Super Cup: 2009, 2011, 2015
FIFA Club World Cup: 2009, 2011, 2015
Ligue 1: 2021–22
Trophée des Champions: 2022
Summer Olympics: 2008
Copa América: 2021; runner-up: 2007, 2015, 2016
FIFA World Cup runner-up: 2014
CONMEBOL–UEFA Cup of Champions: 2022
Ballon d'Or/FIFA Ballon d'Or: 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2019, 2021
FIFA World Player of the Year: 2009
So, a debate that has been lasting for a long time on whether Pele or Maradona are the GOATs or if Cristiano Ronaldo is better than Messi, could all come to an end. If the Argentine skipper manages to propel his team to glory on Sunday, there is no denying that he will be the GOAT and even if he falls short, his legacy will remain intact as one of the greatest to have played the game.
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